President: Luc Anthonis, Belgium
At the Royal Flemish Music Conservatory of Antwerp Luc Anthonis graduated in solfeggio, flute, chamber music, harmony and choir conducting.
He rounded out his knowledge on choral conducting by taking master classes lectured by Eric Ericson, Simon Halsey, Péter Erdei, Jan Eelkema, Michaël Scheck and others.
In 1980 Luc Anthonis took over the choir” Cantilene” from its founder Jozef Cleymans. In 1989 he founded the” Vocal Ensemble Cantando”. He still is the conductor of both choirs. The latter has won a considerable number of prizes at national and international competitions.
He conducts the Flemish Radio Choir on a regular basis. Moreover, he was choirmaster of an international choir in Italy for four years. He also lectured choir conducting masterclasses in Bludenz (Austria).
Luc Anthonis is an established member of the jury at the international youth choir competition in Neerpelt (EMJ-Belgium).
In September 2007 Luc Anthonis graduated as master in choir conducting at the Royal Flemish Music Conservatory in Antwerp (Belgium).
Since 1982 Luc Anthonis has taught flute and instrumental ensemble at the Ekeren Music Academy (Antwerp-Belgium). Over the years his strings ensemble has developed and has become the “Symphonic Ensemble of Ekeren” (SEE), one of the few “school symphonic orchestras” in Belgium.
Bengt Ollén, Sweden
Bengt Ollén studied under Gösta Ohlin and Gunnar Eriksson at the Academy of Music and Drama in Gothenburg. In 1981 he formed the Vocal ensemble Amanda.
Under Lennart Hedvall, Jorma Panula, Robert Reynolds and Everett Lee he studied orchestra-conducting. Bengt is the founder and the conductor of Södra Dalarnas Chamber Orchestra. Yearly this orchestra takes part in the festival “Musik vid Siljan”.
Bengt Ollén is also Sofia Vokalensemble’s founder and constant conductor.
Since 1995 he has led the vocal ensemble with great passion and undying enthusiasm, making it a positive and resolute choir through musical development.
His vision is to create music “beyond the notes.” The music will also have to move the listener.
The performances of Sofia Vocal Ensemble under Bengt Olléns conducting are characterised by an excellent choir-sound, presence and a joy of singing which have proved successful in international competitions.
Bengt is frequently engaged as adjudicator in competitions, as a guest teacher and as conductor at festivals, workshops and concerts, nationally and internationally. Since 1994 he is working as a teacher of choir singing at the international well-known Stockholm’s Musikgymnasium . With his choirs he has achieved great success in choir competitions around the world.
Pietro Ferrario, Italy
Pietro Ferrario graduated in piano, composition, organ, and choir conducting at the conservatories of Brescia, Milano and Alessandria. He continued studying composition with Azio Corghi in Parma and Siena, film music with Ennio Morricone, organ with Lionel Rogg and Giancarlo Parodi, vocal technique and choir conducting with Stephen Woodbury, Gary Graden and Tõnu Kaljuste.
As a composer he enjoys a great appreciation given the performances of his works by renowned symphony orchestras and choirs in Italy and abroad. He composed on commission of important European institutions such as Fondazione Toscanini di Parma, Settimane Musicali di Stresa, Pomeriggi Musicali di Milano, Landesakademie Ochsenhausen.
In 2004 he was awarded the first prize at the International Trophy of Choral Composition “C. A. Seghizzi” in Gorizia. In 2008 he won the first prize in the International competition of composition “Bruno Bettinelli” in Milano and in 2016 he received the first prize in the Arezzo composition competition “Canta Petrarca”, with the winning piece being the compulsory work in the recent 65th International Choral Competition in Arezzo 2017.
His compositions are published by Carus, Ferrimontana, Ricordi and other Italian publishers.
He is the conductor of Ensemble vocale Calycanthus, first prize winner in the important choral competitions of Arezzo and Vittorio Veneto. He recorded with this group a cd of contemporary choral music and a pop-jazz a cappella arrangements cd. Composers Vytautas Miškinis, Rihards Dubra and Azio Corghi wrote pieces for Ferrario and Calycanthus.
In the period from 2011 to 2016 he taught harmony, counterpoint, fugue and composition at the Vicenza Conservatory, musical theory at the Cagliari Conservatory, harmony and analysis at the Sassari Conservatory. He currently is professor of choir conducting and choral composition at the Vicenza Conservatory.
He is often invited as a jury member in important choral and composition competitions.
Prof. Fritz ter Wey, Germany
Professor Fritz ter Wey was until 2009 head of the Department of choral conducting at the ‘Hochschule für Musik’ in Detmold, Germany.
He founded among others the nationally and internationally recognized ensembles ‘Der Junge Chor Aachen’ (1966), ‘Vox Europae’ (1982) and ‘Modus Novus’ (1988).
The focus of his artistic work is in the range of a cappella choral music of the 20th century. A number of CD recordings and numerous radio productions establish his reputation in this field.
For more than forty years Fritz ter Wey is sought-after instructor and guest conductor at international festivals in Europe. Guest performances combine him with domestic and foreign broadcasting choirs. Beyond that Fritz ter Wey has a name as a juror at national and international choral competitions and as chef d’atelier during international choir-meetings in Europe and South-America.
Helena Fojkar Zupančič, Slovenia
Helena Fojkar Zupančič, a singing teacher and a choral conductor, works at the St. Stanislav Institution in Ljubljana.
She was the choir master of the Slovenian Children’s Choir in 2004 – 2009, she collaborated with the Slovenian Radio Chamber Choir 2009 – 2014, in 2016 she appeared with the Slovenian Philharmonic Choir. She received several awards at different competitions for the best conductor. She has also received various national and international awards with her choirs: St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir and St. Nicholas Choir Litija.
Helena Fojkar Zupančič is very popular amongst singers and a sought-after jury member for choral competitions. She runs seminars for choir conductors and courses for church musicians. She also awarded the 2016 prize for outstanding achievements in the field of musical education presented by The Ministry of Education of the Republic of Slovenia.